Bradford over at ClassicalGuitarCanada.ca has been a busy guy! First an interview with Tariq Harb and now one with luthier Marcus Dominelli, cool.
I had the pleasure of playing one of Mr. Dominelli’s instruments over the course of a few months a couple winters ago while my friend owned one and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a more modern sounding/playing instrument. Very well balanced and even throughout the registers with a very distinctive ‘pop’ – each note was very defined and it was a joy for more modern things like Jorge Morel’s Sonatina as well as the contrapuntal lines of J.S. Bach. I did find it to be a little colder than other cedar topped instruments however but where it was a brand new guitar it may just have needed a little more time to break in.
Anyways, check out the interview here, and tell Bradford I sent you
Bradford: I sometimes see people gazing into the grain of the wood. What can students and players tell by looking at the grain?
Marcus: That’s an interesting question. I suppose it means different things to different people depending on what they know and appreciate about wood.
I would recommend that players not concern themselves too much about the woods, and what they might mean. For example, don’t choose one guitar over another just because you read somewhere that the soundboard should have at least 25 grains per inch, or one type of rosewood over another.
One thing I really like about classical guitar players is that they seem very much tuned into the sound they’re after. Typically, at a convention like GFA, or another guitar festival, someone will pick up a guitar, play it for a few minutes and really get absorbed by the sound. Then afterwards will say, “That’s a really nice sounding guitar. What are the woods used?”
Amateur players and hobbyists will often want to know more about the woods and construction methods than the sound, which is a bit silly, since it is a musical instrument. Wood is a means to an end, not an end in itself.